This morning we saw Britain's industrial sector suffer its biggest slowdown in over two years as output in the manufacturing sector fell sharply. According to the ONS, UK industrial production fell 0.5% year-on-year in February, compared with a 0.2% gain in the previous month.
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Manufacturing which is the largest component of production, was the main contributor to the drop as output fell 1.8% year-on-year, recording its largest decline in over 3 years. Meanwhile, on a monthly basis, manufacturing output fell 1.1% in February with production falling in 11 of the 13 manufacturing sub-sectors.
Overall the weaker-than-expected figures have raised fears that the UK economy slowed during the first quarter of the year and also suggests that larger companies have put investment plans on hold until the EU referendum. The UK's goods trade deficit was £12bn in February; narrower than January's upwardly revised figure of £12.2bn but worse than; analysts' forecasts of about £10.2bn. The ONS also stated that the total trade deficit figure for January was now £1.8bn bigger than previously estimated because of a big revision in imports of non-EU goods, specifically gold.
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